IDCE 387 - Workforce Development and Urban/Regional Employment
Needless to say, in the knowledge-based society the race to achieve higher levels of development and productivity has become very much one of expanding the human capital base of societies and countries. Thomas Piketty in his book Capital in the 21st Century has called it the “rising human capital hypothesis”. In the same book, however, he also poses a very provoking question: “Has the apparently growing importance of human capital over the course history been an illusion?” This question is extremely relevant, especially when we hear and see all kinds of ways in which we destroy or waste “human capital”. Workforce development encompasses a variety of employer-based, place-based, and people-based policies, strategies and programs to boost the employability, skill base and education of workers, improve the matching of workers and employers in labor markets, increase the competitiveness of industrial sectors, urban areas and regions, and to address multiple kinds of labor market dislocations resulting from enterprise restructuring, deindustrialization, technological modernization, and occupational obsolescence. This course examines, first, basic theories about the functioning of labor markets (neoclassical, human capital, segmentation/dual labor markets) and the structural forces behind the deterioration of jobs, such as the growth in low-wage employment, globalization, declining quality of jobs, unemployment, and labor market deregulation. Secondly, the course examines the workforce development regulation of the USA, the variety of workforce development strategies and programs (adult education, employability programs, work-first, sectorial/cluster-based, career-ladders, etc.), and the role of various actors (government, community colleges, labor market intermediaries, unions, networks) in the formation and implementation of such programs. Also, we ask about the evidence on the performance of programs under the various approaches. Thirdly, we examine the specificity of programs to support a variety workers (youth, women, immigrants, low-wage workers, incumbent workers) overcome various kinds of labor market disadvantage. Finally, the course explores the connection between workforce development policies and community/regional economic development, especially in small and midsize cities and their regional context: industrial cluster development, the emerging green economy, and the new agriculture, uses of leading edge technologies in the food industry. The course relies mainly on material from the US and Western Europe, but with applicability to other regions of the world.
Anticipated Terms Offered: varies